Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined,
and spreads a common feast for all that live.
The leaves on my blackberry vine are among the last to change colors in autumn, and so I think of them as the dessert in the “common feast” spread for “all that live.” Earlier while I was out snapping photos of this year’s “dessert,” I watched the sunlight first touch only the tip of the leaf and then eventually spread “unconfined” throughout the span of its surface and onto the other leaves. As I stood there shooting from different angles, it occurred to me that the same thing happens in our lives. As the Lord labors in our inward “fields” of spiritual growth, His light in us expands and begins to spread from us into the lives of others. It also dawned on me that the “fruits of the Spirit” of which Paul speaks in Galatians are not meant to be the product of a single season’s growth. Both the expansion of light and the bearing of fruit develop in a one-thing-leads-to-another kind of progression. Thus there’s a purpose for falling into non-productive “briar patches” while our inward skies are gray; it allows our “fields” to lie fallow until they can be reconstituted and strengthened. Afterwards the soil of our human experiences is ready to bear more fruit and display the fullness of the Lord’s light in us. To that end then we need always to be deepening our relationship and intimacy with the “Vine” by twining around and clinging to Him with thankfulness, patience, and prayerfulness until the fodder being cultivated in our souls becomes sufficient to fuel a new crop of “fruit” as well as widen the reach and intensity of our inner light.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ~John 15:5 ✝